There is so much to think about (and do!) when it comes to bringing a baby home for the first time. You’re also busy creating your birth plan, attending your final OB-GYN appointments and packing your hospital bag. It may help to make yourself a to-do list, so you don’t forget anything important. Print this checklist, so you complete all the most essential tasks and activities before you go into labor. When you’re recovering from birth, caring for your baby and living off little sleep, you’ll be happy you prepared.
Install a Car Seat
Your baby needs a quality car seat to get home. In fact, a car seat is so essential to their safety that most hospitals will ensure you have one in your vehicle before you leave. When searching for a good child safety seat for a newborn, KidsHealth.org recommends you buy one with a label that says it meets or exceeds what is known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. These nationwide guidelines are in place to ensure parents purchase the safest seats for their children.
Other tips include buying a new car seat, so you’re sure that the product isn’t defective or there are no broken parts. You should also check that the seat is appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. If you’re unsure how to install your chair, read the owner’s manual or check with your local fire station. Many facilities will schedule a time to inspect the product for free. Finally, try to put the seat in the car at least a couple of weeks before your due date. Since you’ll be prepared ahead of time, you or your partner won’t have to scramble while you’re in the early stages of labor.
Buy Essential Baby Supplies
In the first few days after you get home from the hospital, you probably won’t want to go to the store. Most new moms are too tired and busy to venture out. Have all of the essential baby supplies on hand well before you start feeling contractions. According to experts, you’ll need plenty of diapers, wipes and a changing pad. You’ll also benefit from having a diaper pail in the nursery, as well as rash ointment and washcloths.
When it comes to feeding supplies, pick up several burp cloths and bibs. If you’re breastfeeding, common essential items include a breast pump, containers for storing your breast milk and breast pads. You may also desire nipple balm for sore nipples and a nursing pillow. Bottle feeding? Have plenty of bottles and nipples on hand. A bottle warmer and a few containers of formula should also be on your list. Don’t forget a layette of newborn clothing, blankets and bath time essentials. Think infant tubs, washcloths and soft hooded towels. Nail clippers, a thermometer and a baby first aid kit are also recommended.
Prepare the Nursery
One of the most fun things about expecting your baby is preparing their nursery. Start the excitement by planning the décor. Some moms like to focus on a color palette, while others prefer to design the room around a theme such as a beach or a forest. When you’re done painting and installing essentials such as light fixtures, adorn the nursery with matching window coverings and area rugs.
Now, it’s time to add a crib or bassinet with a mattress. Many parents also like to add a changing table. If you have a small space, you can find cribs and changing tables paired together as one piece of furniture. Other bedtime essentials include waterproof mattress pads and comfortable cotton crib sheets. Don’t forget to add a sleep sack or set of swaddle blankets to the list. These garments are easy to use and keep the baby cozy at night. Other considerations include installing a baby monitor, double-checking smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and buying a sound machine to help your little one sleep.
Choose a Pediatrician
Before your baby arrives, your OB-GYN will probably recommend you choose a pediatrician. There are a few reasons why this is important. First, you’ll need to see the doctor a couple of days after your child is born. Having a physician at the ready will allow you to get in for a critical newborn checkup as soon as possible. Many doctors will also visit your baby in the hospital and approve their release home. Finally, looking for a medical professional ahead of time will ensure you choose someone who is trusted and reputable.
Start by asking your obstetrician or hospital for recommendations. You can also ask your friends and family members. Consider searching the Internet for local ratings and parent reviews. With this information combined, you can narrow down the right choice for your family. Once you have a few final possibilities, schedule a tour of the pediatrician’s office. This short visit will allow you to look at the facility and ask any questions you may have about how the medical staff will care for your baby. After making your choice, keep the doctor’s contact information on your smartphone. The hospital staff will let the physician know when your child is born.
Train Your Pets
Whether you have a cat, dog or another type of companion animal, they’ll also want to be prepared for the baby’s arrival. Your to-do list will depend on the types of pets you have, as well as how many animals live in your home. According to The Spruce Pets, canines may need to work on behavioral issues or get obedience training. You may also need to get them used to spending time in a crate or getting less attention.
Before you introduce your cat to your newborn baby, prepare your furry friends by playing baby sounds or letting them smell the scent of baby lotion. You may also choose to let them explore the nursery, so they’re not anxious about what’s inside. If you plan on starting a new routine, like keeping certain doors closed, do so in advance. This will allow your felines to adjust to the changes. If you have any questions about your specific animal or situation, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They can give you expert tips while checking up on medications, health needs and vaccinations.
Most expecting parents have plenty to do before their baby arrives. However, checking these five essential tasks off your to-do list will make life easier once you’re ready to head home. If you need help shopping or getting your home ready, ask a loved one for assistance. Your friends and family are sure to enjoy helping you get ready for your little one.
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Kenneth Gordon serves as the Director of Business Development for Factory Direct Blinds. When he’s not spending time with his wife and kids, he loves informing others about parenting, home renovations, decorating, and more!
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